Six, Three Times

An abridged guide to Boris

Absolutego (2001)

Six, Three Times

Mirroring Earth's 1991 debut, Absolutego is fittingly subtitled "Special Low Frequency Version." The 65-minute static symphony elicits pure tonal drone, like swimming directionless through magnetic fields of television snow.

***

Amplifier Worship (2003)

Six, Three Times

An interpretation of Lord of the Flies laid to tape in 1998, this early voltaic masterpiece disinfects like the Melvins' Lysol, only with heavier psychedelia and twice the running time. Takeshi's demonic growl and drone sequences bridge the tangents into doom metal ("Huge"), panoramic kraut-rock ("Hama"), and pummeling MC5 punk ("Kuruimizu").

***.5

Dronevil: Final (2005)

Six, Three Times

The musical equivalent of burning a candle at both ends, this double album divides into glacially paced and blackened ambient passages (disc drone) and volcanic psych-blues eruptions (disc evil). While intriguing individually, when played as intended, simultaneous through two stereos, it's heavier than a death in the family.

***.5

Akuma no Uta (2005)

Six, Three Times

The cover art pays homage to Nick Drake's Bryter Layter, but this head rush, with the noted exception of visceral blues jam "Naki Kyoku," is more directly indebted to Motörhead's Ace of Spades and the amphetamine-fueled proto-punk of Japan's Speed, Glue, & Shinki.

***.5

Boris With Sunn O))), Altar (2006)

Six, Three Times

A congregation of doom-metal disciples whose improvisation-based collaborations culminate in six burnt offerings that range from unnerving, experimental abstractions ("N.L.T.") to lengthy drone passages ("Blood Swamp"). The expanded, three-LP version includes the exquisite corpse "Her Lips Were Wet With Venom," featuring Earth's Dylan Carson.

***

Pink (2006)

Six, Three Times

Boris' magnum opus opens in unfamiliar territory – the shimmering, shoegaze-pop of "Farewell" – then plunges headfirst through its backlog, perfecting Akuma no Uta's garage-punk ("Woman on the Screen"), Absolutego's drone ("Blackout"), and Heavy Rocks' bottom-heavy psych-blues ("Afterburner") before lurching into a distortion trench ("Just Abandoned Myself"). Brilliant.

****.5

Boris With Michio Kurihara, Rainbow (2007)

Six, Three Times

Rainbow's prismatic soundscapes range from melodic lullabies ("My Rain," "Rainbow") to Bo Diddley-style rave-ups ("Sweet No. 1") but primarily serve as a backdrop to the acid-electric fissures masterfully conducted by Japanese guitar god Michio Kurihara of Ghost and the Stars. Essential.

***.5

Boris With Merzbow, Rock Dream (2007)

Six, Three Times

A limited pressing of only 5,000, Rock Dream is Boris' definitive live document, an impossibly dense double album that touches down on nearly every point of their career, from Dronevil to Smile's contorted stairway to heaven ("Flower Sun Rain"), with Merzbow's electronic manipulations stitching it all together like connective scar tissue.

****

Smile (2008)

Six, Three Times

Boris' most melodic album to date is simultaneously a summation of and reaction to its recent output, featuring collaborations with Michio Kurihara and Stephen O'Malley and discourses of 1980s metal ("Statement," "Buzz-In"). The Japanese version was alternatively produced and mixed by White Heaven's You Ishihara, creating a strikingly different and more lucid experience.

***.5 (Both)

  • More of the Story

  • Mabuta no Ura

    The Japanese rainbow spectrum of Boris' amplifier worship

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